African American Faces of the Civil War: An Album


Product Details

Johns Hopkins University Press
Publish Date
5.93 X 8.74 X 0.99 inches | 1.64 pounds

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About the Author

Ronald S. Coddington is assistant managing editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education. His work has appeared in USA Today, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the San Jose Mercury News. He is a contributing writer to the New York Times Disunion series and writes a monthly column for The Civil War News. He is the author of Faces of the Confederacy and Faces of the Civil War, both published by Johns Hopkins.


African American Faces of the Civil War: An Album serves us well to remind us of those who came before and honor them.

--Sara Rosen "Le Journal de la Photographie"

A stunning album of 77 portrait photographs-cartes de visite, ambrotypes and tintypes . . . African American Faces of the Civil War provides a unique visual record, quite literally documenting the faces of war at a transitional moment in U.S. history. Lincoln's black warriors helped to overthrow slavery and to restore the Union. Their descendants spent the next century fighting new battles for true equality.

--John David Smith "Charlotte Observer"

The sesquicentennial observance of the Civil War era will be marked by numerous publications of works. Few book will be as fascinating and informative as African American Faces of the Civil War . . . This third book on soldiers in the Civil War, African American Faces of the Civil War, is a well-documented and a valuable work, It is an outstanding contribution to the scholarship on the Civil War and African American History in general.

--Glenn David Brasher "Civil War Book Review"

African American Faces of the Civil War, like the photographs it presents, captures the moment when black men in America transitioned from slaves to soldiers and the Civil War became about more than merely preserving the Union. Unlike any single photograph, however, Coddington's book depicts this moment from a diverse variety of perspectives

--Kelly Erby "Kansas History"

Coddington exposes the good and the bad . . . The book is a must-read for all Civil War buffs and contains important historical data to complete a full circumference of Civil War history.

--Kelly Erby "Daguerrian Society"

Coddington's use of African American-owned newspapers and pension records is groundbreaking. It does nothing to diminish the depth and precision of Coddington's research to say that each compelling vignette prompts the reader to hurriedly flip to the next one.

-- "Publishers Weekly (starred review)"

An engaging look at a neglected part of the history of the American Civil War.

--Vanessa Bush "Booklist"

With the plethora of Civil War books that focus on battles, regiments, and the famous, this volume's subject matter and format are a welcome counterpoint.

--Sara Rosen "Library Journal"

Coddington's thoughtfully crafted and cogently written study, replete with an insightful foreword by J. Matthew Gallman on the African-American experience, will appeal to readers interested in the efforts of African Americans and the war's larger military, social and global consequences.

--Jonathan A. Noyalas "Civil War News"

Coddington highlights the bravery of African American soldiers at a time when many considered them to be cowards, and shows the Civil War from the perspective of African Americans fighting for freedom, dignity, respect, and equality.

--Jonathan A. Noyalas "Choice"

All those who are fascinated by Civil war photography or black history in general will find this volume to be a most enjoyable read. The book helps us to remember that during the Civil War a significant number of black men were willing to fight for their freedom or to help secure freedom for their fellow African Americans.

--Roger D. Cunningham "Journal of America's Military Past"

In developing parallels between the control of one's image in narratives and the use of the photograph as biography, Coddington makes a compelling argument for the reader to rethink the place of photography in telling history. His use of photographs as visual text allows the reader to reimagine history through the photographer's leans. This book maps new methodologies for researching and writing about photographs and plumbs the hidden history of the Civil War narrative.

--Deborah Willis "Indiana Magazine of History"

African American Faces of the Civil War is just lovely. The prose is fast-paced but personal, and readers will feel as if these soldiers are telling their stories in their own words. Mr. Coddington's research is stunning, his details are meticulous, and he even went the next step and thoughtfully enlarged the pictures in his rare collection so that they are alive with power and detail.

--Deborah Willis "The Black History Channel"

There are many books of Civil War letters, and photographs are common. But this book is a first: a collection of identified portraits accompanied by brief narratives of the subjects' lives.

--Deborah Willis "History: Reviews of New Books"

A fascinating work that captures the soldiers at a moment when they proudly served a country that was only just then beginning to reassess their citizenship rights. Because they risked everything to fight for emancipation and the Union, the Civil War's African-American soldiers deserve to never be forgotten. Coddington's work will help to ensure that that no one will ever need to be reminded that 'there were men of color who . . . fought.'

--Glenn David Brasher "Civil War Monitor"